"KDE will get a truckload of useless stuff lying on a desktop which will be covered in windows anyway<" - Emmanuel Bassi
not quite. =) you can put these things on a panel, or promote the desktop briefly to a top level widget (think max os x dashboard if you need a visual hint; i have slides that were made before dashboard came out that show this concept, btw). and due to the ability to hook into meaningful data sets like hardware events, tasks and windows, etc... they'll be anything but useless. (particular things like the application launchers ;) though we'll have lots of useless things too because, well, it's fun and easy and life should be full of both of those things. =)
still, Emmanuel does get one of the overarching concepts:
"they will also get the attention of web developers writing small apps integrating with web services in a transparent way, using their own strengths and knowledge, without forcing them to learn the intricacies of a complete platform"
that's one aim. but i'm going even deeper. i mean, why stop at web developers? why not make it easy enough for mere mortals to get engaged and start creating and sharing little toys and tools with each other?
i've worked in a few places that were involved with securities (portfolio management; a stock exchange; an oil and gas trading co) and at one of them they had access to an app from reuters that let you create arrangements of various data feeds on screen and even connect them up. i noticed traders that were good at creating these setups would get tapped by others to help them create killer layouts. interesting what happens when you empower individuals to create things in simple ways out of complex building blocks.
in that same office there was one girl who made her entire (ms windows) desktop pink. from media player to soft phone to window dtitle bars and widgets to backgrounds ... she was as pink-a-holic. she got a pink (barbi!) computer for home, too, and then replicated that setup there. imagine if she could have created her strange little pink fetishist design and then shared it to her new barbilicious computer at home? or with her similarly pink obsessed best friend?
back to the web, social networking in various forms has hit all over the net. from online gaming to microblogging to virtual business card trading to .... you name it. that's the power of these sites. for every person i hear talking about online word processors, i hear 100s (literally) talking about things like facebook.
so yeah, bring on the web developers. but let's also give users the ability to move, manipulate and share their personal peculiar experience with their friends, family and coworkers. imagine picking from an online warehouse, where you can share with your friends and associates or people with similar interests and values.
i can just see the pink desktop category now.
and even that is just the beginning ... that reuters display? it was a custom app that reuters invests a lot of money in. it's fugly beyond fugly and the real value is the data. think about the possibilities.
and let's not forget more traditional cool uses like getting rid of the "new media found" dialog and replacing it with a little slider that moves out of the side of the screen (the start of that plasmoid is already in svn) or having a timestrip that marches across in time to the clock showing your calendar schedule as well as providing ad-hoc time management (by dropping items on it at given times). or live icons. or ...
"The curve for contributing to the platform is still too steep; and you don’t even get to use your own knowledges: you have to learn everything from scratch. KDE core developers understood this before we did, and their move might keep KDE from falling into the irrelevancy of geek-only usage" - Emmanuel
i not only want to help us from falling into irrelevancy, i want kde to become a new hotness that people want to use with an aching in their soul because they can share their pink horrorshow or financial-instruments-n-news ticker line up or create a cute little birthday card plasmoid to send to mom as a nice surprise for her.
i'm really glad to see that the gnome people are thinking about these things, too. we in the free software desktop community all need to. but let's try to not get myopic about it and concentrate on the current cool kid implementation (web 2.0 stuff) while missing the real lessons (e.g. what makes web 2.0 cool). let's not aim for yet another subset of humanity (web developers) while forgetting about the other 98% of people.
and while these are the things that haunt my mind in the night and guide my hands in designing plasma, i'm not the only one on this train in kde. i know the korganizer guys (cornelius in particular) have had similar long term goals for a while now; the games with ggz; the pervasive use of ghns (which we need to expose better, btw); marble and its slurping in of external data files ...
now, someone on Emmanuel's blog said this:
"How about making a freedesktop spec out of plasma and implementing it under gnome. Or better, implement something plasma-compatible in gnome and then create the spec." - anonim
their heart is in the right place, but it's not realistic (and Emmanuel notes that in his reply). but there are places we can and, imho, should be aligning with each other.
one example? openid. kde4 already has support for openid in a few places, including gethotnewstuff2 and an implementation in our libs that other apps can run with. (thanks to josef spillner; there's a guy who really gets a lot of this stuff, btw. we're lucky to have him around hacking on these things for kde =)
i plan to offer a way for people to associate their existing openid account, or create a new one, right from plasma via the first log-in plasmoid that will appear on the desktop (artists are working on layout for that bad boy right now).
this is one way for us to claim a stake in the brave new online world. we can spread it to other platforms with our cross-platform apps and encourage our own web services, as well as those of others who are open source friendly, to adopt it as well.
so... what say ye our friends at gnome, xfce, firefox, et al? can we join hands and push forward on the same online identification system? we don't have to formally agree or even coordinate the specifics... we just have to all start using it where it makes sense and telling our users about it.